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Block, Askarieh team on ‘Alien’

Foehl to pen otherworldly script

After setting up a number of high-profile videogame and comicbook adaptations at studios around town, Adrian Askarieh is showing some skills at going the independent route to package his own projects.

Askarieh has paired with “District 9” producer Bill Block for his latest property, “Alien Sleeper Cell,” a story about otherworldly beasties that former TV and film editor-turned-scribe Morgan Davis Foehl will write.

Details of the project are being kept under wraps, but the idea was conceived by Felipe Linz, a former exec at David Friendly’s shingle who has since gone off to produce his own pics. He also did a stint at Alloy Entertainment.

Once the screenplay is complete, Block’s QED Intl. and Askarieh production shingle Prime Universe will package the project and seek independent financing or partner with a studio to fund the pic. It’s the same strategy Askarieh is taking with “Just Cause,” an adaptation of Eidos’ hit vidgame, with Michael Ross (“Turistas”) scripting and Eric Eisner’s L+E Pictures co-producing, in order to maintain more creative control and speed up the development process.

While Hollywood is eager to lock down recognizable titles based on games and comicbooks, the projects can often take years to get on the bigscreen.

Askarieh’s credits include Fox actioner “Hitman,” and he’s prepping “Kane and Lynch” at Lionsgate; both are based on Eidos games. Together with Daniel Alter, he’s also set up an adaptation of Devil Due comicbooks “Hack/Slash” and “Lost Squad” at Rogue Pictures and TV toon “Jonny Quest” at Warner Bros. He also has the big-budget adventure project “Leonardo da Vinci and the Soldiers of Forever” set up at Warners, based on his own pitch. He will produce with Roy Lee and Doug Davison.

After sparking to the new take on the typical alien tale, QED’s Block and Paul Hanson brought Linz’s treatment for “Alien Sleeper Cell” to Askarieh, who raised the development dollars for the script. Block, Hanson and Askarieh will produce along with Linz and Prolific Entertainment partner Will Rowbotham. Fran Durekas and Vincent Bruzzese exec produce.

QED is finishing up “The Fields,” produced by Michael Mann and starring Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Chloe Moretz. Mann’s daughter, Ami Canaan Mann, is helming.

Foehl, who previously worked as an editor on FX’s TV drama “Rescue Me” and the Adam Sandler comedy “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” has been generating heat for his adaptation of Top Cow comicbook “Crosshair,” set up at Mandeville Films. His other writing credits include the spec script “Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” which landed on the Black List in 2009.

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